US woman

The rise and fall of the tattoo. By Sam Gordon

hat do David Celebrity Beckham, Angelina tattoos Jolie and Johnny Match the parts of the body (1 to 7) to the pictures (a-g). Can you think of Other famous people anyone with a tattoo on any parts of these parts of the body? Which of these Depp have in common? with tattoos include Not much you might parts of the body would you choose for a tattoo? Lindsay Lohan, Britney think… apart from the fact 1. Upper arm Spears, 50 Cent and that they’re all the proud 2. Lower leg / calf Mike Tyson owners of tattoos. So, 3. Forearm (who has what’s the appeal? 4. Back a tattoo of 5. Ankle Tattooing has been practised for thousands of years. In 6. Lower back Chairman a 1991, a 5,300-year-old mummy was discovered in the 7. Shoulder Mao Zedong Alps. He had more than 50 tattoos on various parts of his on his right b body. The rst written record of tattooing was found in a shoulder). Japanese book from the year 297 AD. In Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, Buddhist monks have used tattoos to ward o evil spirits for centuries. Maori tribes use tattoos to mark children’s rites of passage into adulthood. And Native Americans wore tattoos to indicate which tribe they belonged too. e




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Read over these questions and discuss them with a partner. Then, read the article once to compare your answers. 1. What are the pros and cons of tattoos? 2. What are some of the most popular tattoos? 3. Which famous people have tattoos?

Reading I


So, why are tattoos so popular these days? For many, it’s a form of personal expression – a way of making a statement about your personality, an inner vision of yourself. Some of the most popular tattoos include roses, stars, dragons, lions, butter ies and snakes, and each one represents something GLOSSARY special. For example, butter ies can symbolise youth the proud owner of exp and rejuvenation, a lion can be considered a symbol if you are the “proud owner of” of strength and power, and the sun is often used to something, you have something that you really like and that you are represent life, light and fertility. pleased with Others get tattoos as a way of rebelling against society – of setting themselves apart, or as a badge of social rejection. Some do it because they think it’s attractive, or to draw attention to a particular part of their body (the lower back, for example). Others do it to identify themselves with a particular group (many members of the Yakuza (the Japanese ma a) wear tattoos). And some do it for fun, as a result of peer pressure or in a moment of drunken stupidity.
a mummy n a well-preserved body (sometimes because it has been in ice) to ward o phr vb if something is used to “ward o ” evil spirits, that thing is used to make evil spirits go away a rite of passage exp a ritual performed in some cultures to celebrate the time when a child becomes an adult to make a statement exp to communicate an idea without using words rejuvenation n the act of making you young again – of restoring youth fertility n the ability to produce babies / o spring; the power of reproduction a badge of social rejection exp something you wear / have that says that you don’t like society to draw attention to exp if A “draws your attention to” B, A attracts you to B and makes you look at it or notice it peer pressure n if someone feels “peer pressure”, they feel an obligation to do something because other people from their class / group / social group / age do it to remove vb to eliminate; to delete; to make go away ink n the coloured substance used to draw / paint / make tattoos to fade vb if a colour “fades”, it loses its colour and becomes less intense to stretch vb if something is “stretched”, it becomes longer / bigger / wider, etc. to split up phr vb to separate a wino n informal someone who drinks a lot of wine Hindi adj a form of Hindustani, an o cial language of India, and the most widely spoken language of northern India

The big disadvantage with tattoos is that they’re fairly di cult to remove. And this can pose problems if they’re no longer wanted. While having a tattoo may have been a good idea at the time, the ink on a tattoo can fade over the years, a person’s body may change shape and stretch the tattoo, or the owner of the tattoo may decide that it’s no longer part of the image they want to project. In a 4 Language focus few cases, it’s all been a terrible mistake... especially if the tattoo is misspelled. Some examples of poorly spelt tattoos Prepositional phrases include: “Only God will juge me. / Look at the extract from the article on this page, “…or to draw Tomarrow never knows. / I have attention to…” The writer has used a prepositional phrase with a verb + a noun (“draw attention to”). Complete the following sentences no enermies. / To young to die. / I’m awsome!” [sic] with the nouns from below. advantage matter statement comments 1. Please send me your on it by e-mail sometime today. 2. They really took of us. 3. He’s in a really bad mood. What’s the with him? 4. They’ll make a about it sometime this week.

Read the article. Then, answer the questions to check your comprehension. 1. How many tattoos did the mummy have on it? 2. What did Native Americans use tattoos for? 3. What can a butter y symbolise? 4. What can the sun be used to represent? 5. What can happen to the ink from a tattoo over time? 6. Why did Angelina Jolie get rid of her “Billy Bob” tattoo? 7. Why is David Beckham’s Hindi tattoo the subject of debate?

Reading II

1. If you had a tattoo, what would it be of? Why? 2. Do you know anyone with a tattoo? What is it? What do you think of it? 3. What’s the worst / best tattoo you’ve ever seen?


Even the stars get it wrong sometimes. Johnny Depp had “Winona forever” [dedicated to his girlfriend Winona Ryder] tattooed on his upper arm, but later had to change it after they split up. It now reads, “wino forever”. Angelina had “Billy Bob” tattooed on her upper arm, but later had to have it surgically removed after they separated. And David Beckham’s tattoo of his wife’s name (Victoria) in Hindi is the subject of a debate over whether it’s a misspelling or not. The president of the UK Hindi Committee (Padmesh Gupta) claims that it spells out “vihctoria”. So, will you be getting a tattoo?

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Tattoo Torment